COLUMBIA — Carly and Ally Offerdahl are not into dolls and Barbies as much as their friends from school. Instead, they spend their time practicing taekwondo seven days a week and participating in tournaments throughout the year.
Last month, Carly, 11, won a World Championship and Ally, 9, won a silver medal at the Taekwondo World Championship competition in Little Rock, Ark., held by the American Taekwondo Association. The ATA includes people from countries such as Canada, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, South America and Scotland who all come to the World Championship to participate in the competition each year.
Both girls have been practicing taekwondo for the majority of their lives.
Their father, David Offerdahl, said they became interested in the sport because their two older brothers, Chad, 15, and Jay, 13, were doing it and the girls thought it looked like fun.
“We found out about taekwondo for our sons because we wanted an activity for them,” David Offerdahl said. “We thought it would be a good thing for self defense and leadership skills.”
All four children take taekwondo classes at the Howard’s American Taekwondo Association Black Belt Academy in Jefferson City. Offerdahl said they heard about the academy after meeting Rob Howard at a tournament. David Offerdahl said they really hit it off with Howard, so the children began going to his academy for classes.
“Whether you do it to stay in shape or to compete at a world level, he connects with you at all those levels,” David Offerdhal said.
Both Carly and Ally had their reasons for wanting to participate in taekwondo, yet both girls agree that they thought it was an interesting sport to get into.
“I wanted to be able to defend myself if someone attacked me,” Carly said. “And it seemed like a fun sport.”
Ally said she loves taekwondo because it makes her work hard and she meets new people all the time. She said her favorite part about the sport is the competition and traveling with her family to different tournaments.
For the past three years, both Carly and Ally have been invited to the World Championship and have won various medals. Both of the sisters have won three World Championships, along with other medals.
A lot of practice and hard work go into winning these medals each year. Carly said she practices two or three times a day on her form, and takes classes three times a week, yet she never complains.
“It keeps me working hard,” Carly said. “It’s active, and I have fun doing it.”
Carly said the sport is something you have to work hard at all the time because it requires so much work.
As far as competing against one another goes, the sisters agree that it is not something that gets in their way.
“I think it’s fun competing against my sister,” Ally said.
And though Ally might sometimes beat Carly, she said she never rubs it in her face. This humbleness at such a young age is something their father is most proud of when watching them compete.